Body Talk: I’m talking to YOU!

Has your body  been “speaking”  to you lately about the stress in your life? When you stop to rest is there an ache in your shoulder or neck? Is bending over to pick up your child or pet sending pain through your spine? Are you or a loved one having difficulty finding a comfortable way to sleep at night? If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be a candidate for the pain relief and stress reduction of massage therapy with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT.

The message of pain is your body saying: “stop and listen to me!” When the pain is overwhelming, you have a choice to listen and respond or to  live with the pain. Massage and CranioSacral Therapy with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT is an opportunity to find relief from the everyday stress of living in a body. Massage reduces pain, decreases stress and allows the body to gain range of motion.

People who have come to my massage chair or table have said, “My headache is gone!” or “I can walk without the pain of my bursitis holding me back.”

Give the gift of massage to your self, your friend or your family member who is in need of relief. Give the gift of relaxation and pain reduction with a gift certificate for a one hour session with Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT.

Call today 603 365-0852 to make arrangements to give or receive a most wondrous gift!

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Three Part Breath

Breath is the most important pulse in our body. Without breath, they say, there would be no life. A wide variety of meditation techniques use breath control as the way into quiet. The teacher reminds the class, “Return to the breath, when your mind wanders. Bring yourself back to the present moment.” When you watch your breath, what do you notice? Are you breathing deep or shallow? Which part of your body expands and contracts?  How well do you notice the feelings and sensations of breathing?

As you pause for a moment to notice your breath, right now, I invite you to notice the body welcoming and releasing breath. Begin to notice there is a flow into the belly, the ribs and the shoulders. For some, there will be only shoulder movement, others the ribs will expand and release. Still others a flow of breath into the belly, up through the shoulders and then release from the top down will be experienced. No way is “wrong,” we are noticing breath sensations.

As you watch the breath for a few more cycles, begin to notice it is possible to deepen each breath. First the belly begins to fill with each breath. The belly organs feel pressed on with this breath. Then notice the ribs expanding as the lungs fill a bit more. As the ribs fill with breath, you  then notice the shoulders filling up near the clavicle or collar bones. Hold and retain the breath for a few moments, noticing the expanded feeling in the body. Then slowly release the breath from the top down – move the collar bones in and down, expressing air from the top of the lungs. Then the ribs move inwards pushing even more breath out. Finally the breath is expelled from the belly, the largest opening in the lungs, as you life up on the diaphragm muscle beneath the ribcage.

This is process of breathing in this specific way is often referred to as “Three Part Breath.” 1) The belly takes in breath. 2) The rib cage takes in breath. 3) The clavicle area takes in breath.  Pausing throughout the day to take a series of three to eleven breaths in this way deepens our experience of being alive, connected with other beings and cultivates presence of mind.

During sessions on my massage table, I will often invite attention to the breath. One technique I use with every client brings in more oxygen to assist with release of muscles, joints and tendons.

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

603 365-0852 to schedule an appointment this week!

Body Talk: CranioSacral Therapy – Stillness

Years ago as a new massage therapist, I found pressing on an aching body created more discomfort, rather than less. A day or two would pass for my clients to begin feeling better following a session in my office. Over time I began to look for a modality which created less pain, deeper release and allowed my clients to let go of restrictions in order to become pain free and mobile again. Craniosacral Therapy practice came into my awareness and I began to take classes through the Upledger Institute, mentioned in this article about Craniosacral Therapy (CST):

The Mindset for Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy is practiced with a light pressure to the physical restrictions of the body felt by the hands to the tissues and inviting release. There is a sense of invitation that my hands feel, when a joint, muscle or tendon is ready to release. A quiet, stillness settles into the body as this invitation to let go spreads through the surrounding tissue. The nervous system calms down, the mind settles into stillness and the body drops into deep relaxation. For some people, there is little sensation of this release, yet on rising from the table, they are aware of how much more relaxed and pain free they feel after a CST session. For others, there is a moment by moment realization of the subtle letting go that unfolds during a Craniosacral Therapy session.

The stillness achieved by both the practitioner and the client during a CST session is deep, quiet and healing. Sometimes the hands will rest on a client for 3-5 minutes as the body deepens into relaxation and healing. Time stands still for those moments as the body finds it’s way into balance and quiet presence. The tissues of the body become fluid, under my hands, gently flowing into alignment. Relaxation deepens with each softening of the joint, muscle,  and tendon. Distant points in the body release as well. For example, the neck may release as the ankle is treated. Though I can tell you of my experience as a practitioner, your presences on the massage chair or table will offer you a first hand experience and benefit of CranioSacral Therapy.

Please call to schedule a CST session: 365-0852 cell

In Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

 

Body Talk: Personal Space

When you consider receiving a massage for the first time, what goes through your mind? Will I have to undress? Will it hurt? Can I trust someone to touch me?

Massage therapists are trained to honor your personal space during a session. The massage license requires us to appropriately draped your body during a massage session. On my massage table a sheet and a blanket are provided for warmth and privacy.

The massage therapist touches your skin and muscles for therapeutic purposes only. Muscles respond to this touch by relaxing, joints soften, and breath quiets and deepens. Sometimes there is slight pain in a trigger point, joint, tendon or muscle. These tight or tender places are released in gentle ways with a combination of vibration, pressure to the constricted area, and gentle stretching of muscles and joints. If  pain arises there is always another way to treat the area with minimal discomfort. Let your massage therapist know you are experiencing discomfort and s/he will back off and try another technique.

When someone comes to my table, I let them know to leave their underwear on, bra off for women. It is fine to have underwear off, if you are comfortable with this. During the massage session the part of the body being worked on will be exposed, while the sheet is tucked under and around the body for warmth and protection.  Massage oil or lotion will be rubbed on the exposed leg, arm, shoulder, feet hands or back. Sheets are useful to keep these oils and lotion off the table and blanket.

If at any time you are uncomfortable with what is happening during your massage session, please let your massage therapist know right away.  This goes for either physical pain or an uncomfortable level of exposed skin. Occasionally a client has asked for only a towel drape over the body. I will explain that it is my practice to cover the body with a sheet as I work, exposing only the part of the body which needs the attention of massage hands. If a client acts inappropriately during a session, the massage therapist may choose to leave the room indicating the session is over. The expectation is for payment for a full session.

The role of the massage therapist is to act with integrity as they apply hands on techniques to your body. Your personal space, that is the The space created between massage therapist and client is one of trust and comfort. Feel free to ask questions of your massage therapist about what they are doing, what they are doing to assist your body in it’s healing process. When you are comfortable and aware of what is unfolding, your body will be more able to relax deeply into the moment.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth, MA, LMT

Call for an appointment today: 603 365-0852

 

Body Talk: Epsom Salts Bath

When a client calls in pain and my schedule is booked, I often recommend a hot bath with Epsom salt. As we begin to get out of the house in spring to rake, weed, plant and sow seed, our bodies become achy with the new ways of moving. Taking time to rest and relax at the end of the day, allows the body time to recover. Soaking in a hot Epsom Salt bath can help relieve acute pain.

The benefits of a hot Epsom Salt bath include increased relaxation, relief from pain and cramps in muscles, inflammation reduction, and joint pain reduction. Epsom Salt, also called Magnesium Sulfate, has been used for generations as a home remedy. As an over the counter medication you can find Magnesium in antacids and laxatives. Soaking a splinter in Epsom salt bath reduces inflammation and allows the splinter to be removed more easily. In recent times doctors have used Magnesium Sulfate in IV drip to stop contractions during preterm labor, to treat heart disease and some neurological conditions. Taking in too much magnesium internally is not recommended, yet a good soak wil help the body, mind and soul.

A muscle is a muscle. Soaking the body in magnesium sulfate will release the skeletal muscles and reduce inflammation throughout the joints, reducing pain and improving range of motion in the body. When chronic pain plagues your joints and muscles, give an Epsom Salt bath a try. And before your next massage, try to set aside time for a hot bath with Epsom Salts. Even 15 minutes in the bath can work wonders towards relaxing the body/mind/spirit.

Many Blessings!

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Three Part Breath

When you lay down on the massage table, your body will likely begin to relax into the table. As you continue to lay flat, the breathe may come into your awareness. The inhalation and exhalation of the breath may become the only sensations you feel as your body gives way to gravity. This is a perfect moment to invite your awareness to your breath, and in particular the rhythm of the breath. The breath brings in oxygen which then circulates through the body along with nutrients for every cell. Attention to breath connects the body and mind, creating inner calm and inner oasis.

Breath is the key to our living. When our body breaths well, we are healthy. For thousands of years the yogis have practiced pranayama, or breath control. Prana means breath, or life force; ayama means control. One of my favorite pranayamas is three part breath. This is a focus on breathing into first the belly, then the rib cage and then the tops of the shoulders. This takes some getting used to in part because we are often breathing shallowly into our chest.

Three part breath begins on an inhale into the belly and lower back. With the belly full, the ribcage will expand forwards and sideways. As the breath continues, the shoulders and clavicles will expand. The exhale begins at the top of the lungs, with the shoulders and clavicles emptying. The ribcage softens and collapses inward until you feel the belly emptying and the diaphragm muscle relaxes. Invite another breath into the belly, into the ribcage, up into the shoulders as you continue to read. Pause with this full breath for a moment before you release the shoulders, ribcage and belly.

Practicing three part breath calms the nervous system. Slowing the breath down, paying attention to the sensations of the breath moving in and out of the body connects the mind and body. Mindful attention to the breath gently engages both the nervous system and the circulatory system. As the nervous system calms down the breath deepens and circulation becomes more effective.  This article from Kripalu: https://kripalu.org/resources/breath-body-and-mind-physiology-pranayama describes more about the physiological changes that occur during pranayama practices, such as the three part breath.

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth

If you would like to be introduced to the three part breath integrated into a massage and craniosacral therapy session, please contact me: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org or 603 365-0852.
I look forward to meeting you.

Body Talk: CST and the Brain

CrainioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands on technique which releases restrictions around the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal chord, relaxing the body from the inside out. During a CST session, the client will become quiet from within, relaxing deeply into a restful state. As the CNS releases and relaxes, the softe tissue and body holding pattern soften.

Tad Wanaveer, CST-D writes about the “6 ways CST facilitates brain health” in this article: http://www.massagemag.com/6-ways-craniosacral-therapy-facilitates-brain-health-26528/

When restrictions in the connective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal chord are released, the body moves with more ease and confidence. As we continue to release holding patterns from the body, there is no longer a need to hold on. The body allows healing to begin, circulation improves and movement takes on a new level of ease.

Please call today to schedule a CST session: 603 365-0852 or email: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

Many Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth Whitcomb

Body Talk: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the heel and sole of the foot. Medically the plantar ligament has micro-tears within the tissue which causes pain. The foot was likely strained from walking, or running coupled with in adequate foot support, high or low arches, being over weight or even walking/standing/running for long periods of time. This is a painful condition that can be helped with regular massage sessions in addition to daily self care.

WebMD.com has a list of self-care suggestions here: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-home-treatment

Stretching first thing in the morning, alternating hot and cold soaks and wearing supportive shoes, possibly with orthotics, are keys to the healing of the soles of the feet. Massage for the plantar muscle is often painful to receive, yet effective for pain relief. I have seen plantar fasciitis resolve with twice a week 20 – 30 minute treatments over the course of 6 weeks. Massage deeply stretches the tendons, connective tissue and muscles of the foot allowing for increased circulation in the injured tissue, which aides the healing process.

When you a colleague or neighbor are suffering from plantar fasciitis, please give me a call to set up a series of 6 – 10 sessions for the feet, legs and hips. This focused session brings relief to pain and gets you back to playing your favorite games on foot!

Happy Walking Feet to all!

Sarah-Elizabeth

Contact information: 603 365-0852 or relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

 

Body Talk: Relaxed muscle = Strong muscle

This may seem counter intuitive: a relaxed muscle is a strong muscle. A muscle that hold tension or tightness is often tired, lacks circulation and oxygen in the cells. Tired muscles can not move as easily, thus the body feels and acts weaker when it is tight. Muscles that are open, relaxed and flexible are ready to move and lift for the next task.

Try this: Notice where in your body there is tension: shoulders, neck, hips or legs. Move this part of your body, challenging the muscles for a moments. Take a breath in and out, releasing the movement back to neutral. Now, gently stretch the muscle. Repeat this two or three more times and observe the sensations in that muscle. Breath in oxygen, breath out tension. What do you notice happening?

Sports massage techniques are used to release muscle tension and holding patterns around joints in order to free the body for flowing movement. On my massage table, you are invited to release the bones of the shoulder, hip, neck or head into my hands. One the muscles release, the joint is moved towards a comfortable range of motion (ROM) into a gentle stretch. The body pauses to enjoy the stretch and then is invited to move the joint back to the neutral center of the body. Once relaxed, you are invited to breath deeply, bringing oxygen into the body and the muscle being worked on. As the body relaxes once more, the stretch is invited into the joint to bring further release to the muscle and joint.

Notice the improvement in strength as ROM and relaxation deepen.

Each movement increases the relaxation, improves ROM and brings relief to the pain in the joint and with movement. This is a lasting improvement as the body will begin to circulate blood, nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and joints more freely. Healing deepens as the muscles relax. Relaxed muscles are strong muscles.

Call today to schedule a sports massage session to release the tension you are holding throughout the body!

relax@sarah-elizabeth.org   or 603 365-0852 Many Blessings,

Sarah-Elizabeth

Body Talk: Pain

Pain. How is pain speaking with you today?

Pain catches our attention and asks for a response. NOW! Pain brings a present state of awareness into our lives. Pain may stop you in your tracks, keep you from activity or bring you to your knees.

Pain may be described as: a dull ache, sharp, hot, electrical, shooting, stabbing, creeping, restrictive, cutting, catching, breath taking, stinging, pointy, throbbing.

Put a focus on pain and give your body the chance it needs to soften the pain and regain mobility. With a skilled massage therapist, pain can be reduced and movement restored to the body in just an hour’s session. Over a series of sessions, pain can be reduced up to 100%. Gentle pressure to explore the area of pain, stretching, compression and movement brings increased blood flow to the body allowing the body to realign and heal from within.

Are you ready to release the pain you’ve carried for weeks, months or even years? Call to set up an appointment today for a one hour session to reduce your pain, learn more about the source of your pain and gain new freedom to move!

603 365-0852 cell or email me at: relax@sarah-elizabeth.org

Here’s to letting go and being free from pain!

Peace,

Sarah-Elizabeth